Gregg says he couldn't support Obama 100 percent
WASHINGTON -- Republican Sen. Judd Gregg said Friday that he pulled out of the job of commerce secretary after realizing that "I'm just going to be a little too conservative" for President Barack Obama's administration.
If you're going to be on a football team, "you've got to pull out and block on every play, you can't do it on every other play," the senator said.
"I didn't feel comfortable going forward because of my individuality, for lack of a better term," Gregg said during an appearance Friday morning on CNBC.
Gregg said he thinks Obama is on the right track in attempts to stabilize the shaky financial system and that the proposal of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner -- much criticized as being too vague -- is going to be an extremely strong initiative once it is filled out with details.
At the same time, Gregg said his conservative inclinations would show up in terms of fiscal spending.
Regarding the $790 billion economic stimulus plan, "I think there was a tactical error made ... in that you allowed the appropriators to write the package," said Gregg.
He said he thinks the stimulus plan "should be focusing mainly on trying to stabilize the real estate markets, and promoting small business and getting jobs."
On the other hand, Geithner's proposal has been misjudged, said Gregg.
"You are talking over a trillion dollars ... to clear off the books in the areas of consumer credit and commercial-backed real estate loans. That's big," Gregg said of Geithner's plan. "You are talking very strong initiatives in the area of foreclosure abatement. And you're talking a significant commitment to capital into the banks coming in either a direct infusion or through buying bad debt off their books."
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)